How We Learn From Each Other


 

Yesterday, I  told you all the story of Ms. G. a teacher in the Freshman and Sophomore classes at Long Beach California. She was one of those people who came along and wanted to make a difference. She was officially an English teacher. She worried if they would like her or if she would seem too preppy to the kids. Last night I began wondering if there was a book the movie was based upon. Well, there is. Please be patient as there is a point to all of this.

 

She decided they were going to read the Diary of Anne Frank. After an incident in class, she asked who knew what the Holocaust was. Not one hand raised, not one child knew. That was when she made her decision that they would read Anne Frank. As she began to read to them, they heard familiar words, war, shooting, dying. This is when she made the suggestion that they keep a journal. She bought, out of her own money, one for each student. They could share what they wrote with her, or not. No one else would see or read them. At the end of every day she locked the cupboard that they kept the journals in. They decided, after finishing reading Anne Frank that they wanted to meet the woman, Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust.

 

So their teacher Ms. G helped them do fund raisers until they had earned enough money to bring Miep Gies to California. She was a very old lady. She told them all about the Nazi’s and the horrors she had seen. She told them of the night the Gestapo came and took the hidden Jews away. How a gun was held to her head. Hiding Jews meant you were to be shot. A high price for being a compassionate, caring human being. For this reason, she was very surprised when the Gestapo left and she was still alive.

 

The kids told Miep Gies she was their hero but this gentle, kind woman looked at this classroom of Asian, African-American and Latino kids and told them they were the heroes. Thier teacher Ms. G. had told her about their journals and some of their stories. Miep Gies didn’t see a class of mixed colored kids, she saw them as brave because they knew so much of what Anne Frank had suffered and yet they went to school everyday, they learned to open their hearts to Ms. G. and the other kids. They even were beginning to trust each other. So damaged kids from every race, color and creed were beginning to understand each other and accept each other. They chose to break the cycle and make their positive experiences  a lesson for generations to come.

 

Now, the story becomes amazing. In the 1990′s, there was another little girl, named Zlata and she wrote a story. Now I own the diary and have read it. Zlata was in Kosovo and there was a war going on. Our students in Long Beach California read about a girl who wrote out her heart to survive the two years she was in the war. Her diary, quite like Anne Frank’s diary was full of the horrors of war. What human beings are capable to doing to each other. Zlata wrote to save her sanity and cope with the terrible war conditions. She feels there is a parallel between herself and the Freedom Writers because they had all been subjected to being felt that they were victims. They all understood that life brings good things and bad things. Zlata feels that it is easy to  become a victim of your circumstances and to continue to feel sad or angry. She continued to say that someone could continue  to stay angry and scared or that people could  choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies. She told the Freedom Writers that writing helps you look objectively at what is happening around us.

 

Zlata left the former Yugoslavia knowing what a bomb sounds like,what it’s like to hide from bombs in a cellar and what the absence of water feels like. She wants American kids to rise above what they have had to live through and not let the hate, violence and sadness become the focus of their lives, so they can make rich lives for themselves.

 

The Freedom Writers kept Ms. G. for their Junior and Senior years. Then they all went on to college. What they overcame and accomplished is very important and must be respected. They escaped the damage of the anger and hate that surrounded them in their neighborhoods. The seeds of hatred and fear that was beginning to grow. They stopped history from repeating itself.  Ms. G. is still teaching on the college level toda;, though divorced she has had many children and these children will never forget her. They would have remained “underachievers” if she hadn’t walked into their classroom on her first day of teaching. I encourage you all to remember this true story and the two girls who inspired a classroom of American kids to save their lives and make the world a better place for everyone to live.

 

 

A book tree, wouldn't it be wonderful!

A book tree, Wouldn’t it be wonderful!

 

The Essential Wisdom of the Dalai Lama


The Dalai Lama is a very special person. He is the political and spiritual leader of Tibet which was taken from the Tibetan people by the Chinese. They say that having at one time owned Tibet, they do now also. I think it is kind of like Russia saying they own the Ukraine. Greed for land and minerals and egos are behind these actions. Tibet was invaded by the Chinese back in the fifties and a teenaged Dalai Lama was secreted out of the country and took refuge in India. Many Tibetan people left with the Dalai Lama and in the weeks and months thereafter. The Dalai Lama was the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist religion. The temples were invaded and monks and nuns were tortured, raped and murdered. The world stood by and watched it happen. They really had nothing to make them valuable to the rest of the world, so the country was devastated.

 

 

I have met him back in the eighties and I found him to be a wonderful spirit with a good sense of humor, and a sincere and peaceful energy. It would be so easy for him to be angry, resentful or to have turned away from his faith. Instead, I found a man of peace, a man who worries about his people, and a man who has never held any grudges against the countries who didn’t come to the aid of his people. His teachings are wise, peaceful and full of compassion. We are so lucky to have him and his wonderful spirit here in the world. I believe he is the source of much positive energy that fights the darkness that is also here.

 

It amazes me that a country at the top of the world would have been worth stealing from its people. To seal the immoral bargain, the Chinese people were moved into Tihet and encouraged to marry Tibetans. People who didn’t always have a choice. It is a form of genocide because  there will be fewer and fewer people who can claim they are of Tibetan ancestry.

 

The Dalai Lama has taught and spread his message all over the world and he is seldom still, except in meditation. I thought I would share some of his teachings with all of you. No matter what path you follow, you can add these teachings. They do not contradict any other teachings.

 

 

BJWordPressDivider

 

 

“Love, compassion, and concern for others are real sources of happiness. With these in abundance, you will not be disturbed by even the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you nurse hatred, however, you will not be happy even in the lap of luxury. Thus, if we really want happiness. we must widen the sphere of love. This is both religious thinking and basic common sense.”

 

” Unless our minds are stable and calm, no matter how comfortable our physical condition may be, they will give is no pleasure. Therefore, the key to a happy life, now and in the future, is to develop a happy mind.”

 

“If the basic human nature was aggressive, we would have been born with animal claws and huge teeth—but our are very short, very pretty, very weak! That means we are not well equipped to be aggressive beings. Even the size  of our mouth is very small. So I think the basic nature of human beings should be gentle.”

 

“Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite—love, compassion, tolerance, and patience—then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish.”

 

“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it. “

 

 

BJWordPressDivider

 

 

“Tibet is distinguished by its extraordinary geography, the unique race and language of its people, and the rich culture they have developed over 2,100 years of recorded history. approximately six million Tibetans populate our country, which covers around 2.5 million square Kilometers, an area the size of Western Europe. In the Tibetan culture, our relations with nature, including animals, were very peaceful. We lived in great harmony with nature. At its foundation and thereafter, after the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet, Tibetan society in general was characterized by compassion and openness. It was a society where people felt at ease. For those reasons I believe it might serve as an example.”

 

“Fundamentally, the issue of Tibet is political. It is an issue of colonial rule: the oppression of Tibet by the  People’s Republic of China and resistance to that rule by the people of Tibet. This issue can be resolved only through negotiations and not, as China would have it, through force, intimidation and population transfer.”

 

” Violations of human rights in Tibet have a distinct character. Such abuses are aimed at Tibetian as a people from asserting their own identity and their wish to preserve it. Thus, human rights violations in Tibet are often the result of institutionalized racial and cultural discrimination.”

 

 

             This is a short prayer written by the Dalai Lama

 

For as long as space endures,

And for as long as living beings remain.

Until then may I, too, abide

To dispel the misery of the world.

 

 

buddhawatergarden

 The Buddha

 

 

The Dalhai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

The Dalai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

 

 

What is dying inside of you?

What is dying inside of you?  

Give to the soil


photo 4

Give to the soil
What wants to rest in the earth

Give to the river
what wants to be dissolved in water

Give to the sun
what wants to be burned in fire

Give to the wind
what wants to be dispersed in air

Enough despair
Enough destruction

Make yourself empty
Purify your body and mind
and
get ready!

Ready to receive
God
:-)
–Anieszka Ledwon (Agni)
28.08.2011 Sufi Camp Switzerland

photo 2

Paintings by Jaynara Linda Hauser:
(top) …in my wild heart, (bottom) The Alchemy of LIfe

Doctor Martin Luther King Day


Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech – August 28, 1963

BJWordPressDivider

Martin Luther King’s Final Speech “I have been to the Mountaintop” – April 3, 1968

BJWordPressDivider

My respect for Dr. King and his words is enormous. I pray one day that every sentient being will understand his words and will live in the spirit of love and acceptance of everyone. I pray for the end of bigotry, and hatred. I pray that the essence of the love that moved Dr. King would invade every country and every government. Most importantly, that his essence will fill every human heart and that together we will conquer racism, sexism and all bigotry. I am so glad I lived during part of Martin Luther King’s life. May your spirit live for many millennia.

BJWordPressDivider

Mother Teresa


Mother Theresa in the early years of her ministry

Mother Theresa in the early years of her ministry

Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who saw the poverty and suffering around her and she was filled with compassion and kindness. She and her order of nuns began to assist the people everyone wanted to forget. She began in Calcutta, India and worked selflessly with “the poorest of the poor.” Her order began in 1950 and  are called the Missionaries of Charity. There are now more than 500 centers around the world to help the sick, the dying and the destitute. This woman  was a heroine and is considered a saint in the Catholic religion. I am told she was working her way to sainthood. This is all great, but what has amazed and inspired me is Mother Teresa’s compassion, caring, kindness, generosity and authenticity. She walked her talk.

Mother Teresa admonished people to listen to the silence, because if your heart is full of other things you can’t hear God. I believe that all religions and spiritual paths would agree with this. Whether you pray, meditate or chant when you go inside you are in the presence of the One. Being in the presence of the Divine is to experience real love and compassion. The contemplatives and ascetics of all ages and spiritual paths have sought God in the silence and solitude of nature. Many live in caves, forests or on mountaintops. Mother Teresa also would withdraw at times to recharge herself for her work among the least of God’s children.

” Silence of our eyes,

Silence of our ears.

Silence of our mouths.

Silence of our minds.

in the silence of the heart

God will speak”    —Mother Teresa

“Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an

intense and particular love.

Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness

than to work miracles with unkindness.”  —Mother Teresa

BJWordPressDivider

This is a story Mother Teresa often told. I am quoting her words. “One day I picked up a man from the gutter. His body was covered with worms. I brought him to our house, and what did that man say? He did not curse. He did not blame anyone. He just said, “I’ve lived like an animal in the street, but I’m going to die like an angel, loved and cared for! It took us three hours to clean him. Finally, the man looked up at the sister and said, “Sister, I’m going home to God.” And then he died. I’ve never seen such a radiant smile on a human face. He went home to God. See what love can do!” I wonder how many of us have ever shone kindness to a homeless person, let alone one covered with worms.

BJWordPressDivider

Mother Teresa daily gave care to lepers, the dying and the hungry. She also never worried about catching a disease or if she had eaten. I have always made it a practice to give money to the homeless. I am not rich, but I try to divide what I have. One day in Memphis, I was with friends and I saw an obviously homeless and destitute woman sitting on a bench in downtown Memphis. As our group was walking by and talking, I noticed her and took money from my wallet and gave it to her. My behavior horrified the people I was with. One dropped back and asked me why I did that. I told him that I make it a practice to practice random acts of kindness. He expressed surprise and a young woman scoffed at me and said the woman probably owned the building. I responded that that would be fine because she would pass the money on to someone who really needed it. Yes, I know I am an optimist.

Another story that Mother Teresa told was as follows: “Some time ago I made a trip to Ethiopia. Our sisters were working there during that terrible drought. Just as I was about to leave for Ethiopia, I found myself surrounded by many children. Each one of them gave something. “Take this to the children!” they would say. They had many gifts that they wanted to give to our poor. Then a small child, who for the first time had a piece of chocolate, came up to me and said, ” I do not want to eat it. You take it and give it to the children.” This little one gave a great deal, because he gave it all, and he gave something that was very precious to him.”

” Our mission is to convey God’s love—not a dead God, but a living God, a God of love.”  —Mother Tesesa

“Poverty doesn’t only consist of being hungry for bread, but rather it is a tremendous hunger for human dignity. This is where we make our mistake and shove people aside. Not only have we denied the poor a piece of bread, but by thinking that they have no worth and leaving them abandoned in the streets, we have denied them the human dignity that is rightfully theirs as children of God.”  —Mother Teresa

All over the world, we are shoving people aside and taking away their dignity. Here in America, we have replaced compassion, kindness, generosity and love with hatred, bigotry and violence. This is why our societies are breaking down. So, I recommend random acts of kindness. I recommend writing to your Congresspeople. Find the love and compassion for others we have lost and use it to make a better society. Remembering that we are One Family living on One World and love is what binds us together.

Mother Teresa before her death.

Mother Teresa before her death.

BJWordPressDivider

Love One Another


We are all One family living in One world.

We are all One family living in One world.

 

” Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give  one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,  but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

 

—-Khalil Gibran, From The Prophet

 

Rumi's words

Rumi’s words

” Age does not protect you from love but love to some extent protects you from age.    —Jeanne Moreau

 

The Need for equality


Every woman is equal to everyone else no matter what country she lives in.

Every woman is equal to everyone else no matter what country she lives in.

feminist

Love is not Concerned

love is not concerned
with whom you pray
or where you slept
the night you ran away from home
love is concerned that the beating of your heart
should kill no one.” —-Alice Walker, novelist, poet and feminist

Women survive so much in life. There are so many sources for what damages women. Child abuse, hunger as a child, looking different, rape, domestic violence, child birth, child loss. Illness, toxic work environments, sexual harassment, being left for a younger woman, parents to take care of, knowing you can’t make as much as a man does. verbal abuse and emotional abuse. I will stop with keeping thin, showing no gray in your hair, being enthusiastic all the time and support. There has never been a generation of women that weren’t damaged and continued to function to the best of their abilities. For every feminist man out there in the world who has helped a woman, been kind when she really needed it, or who loved her despite her imperfections, you stand out in this world. Be you American or French, or Chinese or Brazilian; on behalf of all women, I say thank you. You are very special.

“Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.”
—-From an essay by W. B. Yeats

The Big Heart

Big heart,
wide as a watermelon,
but wise as birth,
there is so much abundance in the people I have
Max, Lois, Joe, Louise,
Joan, Marie, Dawn,
Arlene, Father Dunne, and all in their short lives
give to me repeatedly, in the way the sea
places its many fingers on the shore,
again and again
and they know me,
they help me unravel,
they listen with ears made of conch shells,
they speak back with the wine of the best region.
They are my staff
They comfort me.

They hear how
the artery of my soul has been severed
and soul is spurting out upon them,
bleeding on them,
messing up their clothes,
dirtying their shoes
And God is filling me,
though there are times of doubt
as hollow as the Grand Canyon,
still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs, the spider in its intricate web,
the sun
in all its amazement,
and a slain ram
that is the glory,
the mystery of great cost,
and my heart,
which is very big,
I promise it is very large,
a monster of sorts,
takes it all in——
all in comes the fury of love.” ——-Anne Sexton, poet and feminist

Young women marching to :take back the night:

Young women marching to :take back the night:

Feminist and First Lady of The United States of America

Feminist and First Lady of The United States of America

Quote by poetess Maya Angeloe

Quote by poetess Maya Angeloe

Feminist and author The reason I became a feminist.

Feminist and author
Of the book The Feminine Mystique

                                                                                                                                             

 

Heart and Wings


Hazarat Inayat Khan mystic and musician

Hazarat Inayat Khan mystic and musician

Hazarat Inayat Khan grew up and lived in India. He was a wonderful musician and had a spiritual teacher. In time, he began to study a path called Sufism. His spiritual teacher told him to take what he learned to the West and teach it to the people. So he and his brothers left India and went to Europe. They began meeting people and telling them about a philosophy that was a mysticism. He even came to America. He gave lectures coast to coast. The Sufi movement was called the Chisti order. The Chisti order is Westernized. Women are equal. There is studying, singing and the Universal dance.There are groups who practice healing and who do practices together.

Sufi Murshid brought Sufism to the West

Sufi Murshid brought Sufism to the West

” If one is able to expand oneself to the consciousness of another person, one’s consciousness becomes as large as two persons’. And so it can become as large as a thousand persons’ when one accustoms oneself to try and see what others think. It is the understanding of two points of view, the opposite points of view, that gives a fuller insight into life. The ” I ” and ” you ” only remain so long as we see ourselves, but when we rise above them or beyond them, the thought brings us nearer and nearer to God in the consciousness in which we all unite.”  –Hazrat Inayat Khan

” The Soul of the whole of creation is one,  the life behind all these ever-moving phantoms is one. Meditation on this truth and the awakening to it will harmonize the condition of the world.”   —Hazrat Inayat Khan

” Holy One, All-powerful, The overcomer, The firm,

Free us and protect us from impressions of alienation, illusion, nonsense; And strengthen us in cooperation, friendship, discernment and wisdom, as we learn how to walk in balance on the earth.”

Sufism does not partake in politics or war.  Hazrat Inayat Khan went back to India to visit and died. His son, Pir Valayat Khan took over leadership of the Chisti order. Pir passed away in France. Now Hazrat’s grandson Pir Zia is the leader and spiritual head of the order now. Sufi’s can trace themselves back to Zoroaster and Mohammed gave them mystical teachings. They sat on sofas in the inner circle and so with time they became Sufis. Sufi’s say that there is no God but that which is God.

The Sufi Heart and Wings

The Sufi Heart and Wings

Samhaim


Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge

The Pagan Wheel of Life

The Pagan Wheel of Life

For many a millennium, there were Goddesses and they were greatly revered. The Romans and Greeks had a large assortment of Goddesses who represented the feminine aspect in life. While there were warrior goddesses, most had other purposes.  The Celtics gave us the triple goddesses, the maid, the mother and the crone. The only one I think needs explanation is the Crone. The Crone was the oldest of women, had lived her life and experienced many things. She taught the young ones.  Christianity brought the first religion that had no female aspect. Although, I think Mary is the archetype of the Goddess in our time. But that is just my opinion.

The Pagan people were the Celts who lived in close accord with the land. They had many rituals to thank Mother Earth for harvests, the plantings, the birth of baby animals and for their own babies. They used herbs to heal and used many things the pharmaceutical companies use in our medicines and the same herbs to heal that are often used today. Chamomile, lavender, garlic and so on. What we call Halloween, they called Samhaim and the pagans believed that the veil between the worlds was the thinnest and therefore souls could cross over. Food was cooked for the ancestors and left for them to eat. Jack o lanterns were carved to look scary to keep bad spirits away.

Goddesses kept a balance between the male and the female, the yin and the yang. Women felt a connection to the goddesses and felt that they awakened and restored the natural power within them.  There are many myths, symbols and archetypes that can fill you with a strong sense of being female.

The Goddess Hestia, transforms the mundane into the sacred. Our very homes become sacred and all of our activities become sacred and allows us to walk in radiance.

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:

” A billion stars go spinning through the night.

Blazing high above your head.

But in you is the presence that will be.

When the stars are dead.”

” You were born together, and together you

Shall be forevermore…

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance

Between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup…

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let

Each one of you be alone…

And stand together yet not too near together:

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the Temple stand apart.

And the oak tree and the Cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

——Kahlil Gibran

The triple goddess is maid, mother and crone.

The triple goddess is maid, mother and crone.

Mother Teresa embodies the goddess Hestia. She the guardian of hearth and home. Mother Teresa daily practiced communion with the Divine through service to others and meditation.  She always carried a silence within her.

” We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God. Together as a community as well as personally. To be alone with Divinity–not with our books, thoughts and momories but completely stripped of everything—to dwell lovingly  in Its presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. We cannot find God in noise or agitation… In silence we will find new energy and true unity.  Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.”

 —Mother Teresa

The female aspect of Divinity

The female aspect of Divinity

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts and peace to all souls

goddess3

The feminine energy

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts 

The Source of Joy


Experience love

Experience love

” No one knows what makes the soul wake
up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has

blown the veil from the face of God.
A thousand new moons appear. Roses

open laughting. Hearts become perfect
rubies like those from Badakshan. The

body turns entirely spirit. Leaves
become branches in this wind. Why is

it now so easy to surrender, even for
those already surrendered? There’s no

answer to any of this. No one knows the source of joy. A poet breathes
into a reed flute, and the tip of every hair makes music. Shams sails

clown clods of dirt from the roof, and we take jobs as doorkeepers for him.

——-Rumi, translated by Robert Bly

We can never give all of our love away.

We can never give all of our love away.

Prayer beads

Do not raise your voice

Rumi's words

Rumi’s words

To know you...

                                                                                                             My One Desire